Ahh, Charlottesville. Or, rather I should say…Ahh, the vineyards of Charlottesville. Wine and vines. Grapes and sunshine. We’ll take all of it. It’s certainly enough that we got to hang with the Faidleys and the Sanos. Mike and Lauren were fantastic to work with, as we knew they would be. But add in the hillsides and valleys, the breweries and the breeze…it’s kind of a perfect combination. Veritas is never a bad idea either as it has one of the best reception halls in our personal opinion, and not just for a vineyard. Oh, and if you’re in to the varied and wonderful personalities that are on display for a wedding day, you can’t get much better than this one.
A heartfelt thank you to the people who made this day a lovely one for the Faidley and Sano families – Joyne Cordova of BRIDEface Richmond, Erinn Paris and Paris Cake Company, Sarah Stuart of American Beauty Salon, Dress by Mark Zunino Bridal, Bridesmaids attire by Weddington Way, and Carissa and Yael of The Gilded Thimble.
Yeah, sure. Blue skies and oceans. Palm trees. Bright and beautiful colors and people. We have that for you. That’s the easy part when you’re invited to cover a wedding weekend in Puerto Rico. And to Iris and Maria, two incredible planners working with us at the Condado Vanderbilt hotel, I’m pretty jealous that you see this every weekend. But to the point…Tiffani and Scott didn’t get here by any direct means. Sitting down with them a few months before the wedding day, I asked “How did you meet?”. I’ve gotten so many different answers to that question over the years. But this answer turned my head…
“At Everest Base Camp”
“I forgot to bring extra socks and Scott let me borrow his.”
*jaw drop and record skips*
What followed was a truly wonderful love story, the kind that you’d expect when it starts at 18,000 feet and doesn’t involve an airplane. And what’s going on below is just the tiniest little sample of one of the best four days of our professional careers. Starting in the evening of the rehearsal dinner near Santurce market, to the hotel for the wedding night, and closing out with a day-after session in the streets of Old San Juan.
And while you’re in the browsing mood, go over to the Jet Fete blog to see a details-focused take on the wedding day. Enjoy!
If you remember back to the earlier blog post when Kate and Justin had their ceremony, you may recall it was a intimate and elegant affair, an early Spring evening that was lovely but brief in the classic and historic Commonwealth Club. Flash forward now to the fullness of Summer and you’ll see quite a few things have changed. Friends and family alike joined the fun this time as it was all party, all the time. And as is typical of Rockett’s Landing there was no shortage of beautiful views and stunning sunsets. Lindsay and I took full advantage of those views and the relaxed mood of the evening to spend a little extra time with the couple, while still enjoying a full night of music and dancing.
Kate and Justin, I’m sad that our little months long adventure had to end, but thank you for making us a part of it. Anytime you two are throwing a party, we want to be a part of it.
It doesn’t get much more Richmond than this. Rebecca and Jacob chose two of the most iconic locations in the entire city to host their ceremony and reception. The Byrd Theatre is a fixture in the hearts and memories of so many Richmonders, growing up with it’s 1920’s architecture and brilliant organ to go along with cult classic showings and well-curated film festivals. And while I don’t tend to think of a wedding ceremony as a high drama event, there’s definitely a circumstance to it that lends itself to the theater. I loved Rebecca’s and Jacob’s approach to using the space, keeping it straight forward and allowing the beauty of it take center stage.
When I met with these two for the first time we all knew that the day wouldn’t be complete without a little stroll through Carytown (one of their favorite spots as a couple) to take advantage of their personalized marquee at The Byrd and the energy of all the Saturday shoppers milling about. Seriously, what’s not to love about it.
And even the least travelled Virginian has heard of or visited the nationally recognized Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Marble Hall, the sculpture garden, the brilliant exterior design…it’s a photographer’s dream and certainly a lovely destination for a wedding reception. Lindsay and I always consider it an honor to be invited to each and every wedding, and this is no exception, but it’s also great to be able to incorporate so many loved aspects of our hometown in the process.
Congratulations to Rebecca and Jacob, their families, and the dozens of unnamed extras who had no idea they’d be part of this wedding day 🙂 Enjoy.
Rain plans. It’s a phrase that no bride wants to talk about, but it does occasionally happen and it’s good to be prepared. How about lightning plans? You’d think it’s the same plan but occasionally you have a situation where an impending storm makes you rethink your strategies. I hadn’t thought about it either until literally 48 hours before Sandra’s and Matt’s big day they found out that the weather was going to force a pretty big change. They were changing their entire venue…only one of the biggest decisions you make (other than wedding photographer…clearly!)….with less than two days to spare. Invitations already sent. Directions distributed. Flowers, cake, food…everything going in a different direction that had been planned for months.
If you’re a bride that’s in the midst of planning her wedding you may have just passed out at the thought. Did Sandra and Matt? Nope. Not even a little. Now, this is the part where I tell you that having an exceptional wedding planner and coordinator is worth its weight in corsages and center pieces. Adam Donovan-Groves of Donovan-Groves Events was amazing. He coordinated the entire change with as little disruption to the day as possible. Masterful job, Adam. Truly.
So, instead of frantic faces and worried expressions, instead of blown timelines and missed opportunities, you have an entire wedding day that happened exactly how it was supposed to happen with a simple last minute address change. So, you can now focus on the beautiful little touches that filled the day. Check out that Viewfinder loaded with relationship memories that Matt gave to Sandra before the ceremony. Check out that reveal in the bridal suite at The Lodge at Mt. Ida. All told, a remarkable wedding day.
We often list our wedding colleagues, the “vendor team” as a recognition of their hard work and dedication to making a great wedding day, but this time it’s truly a remarkable list. Everyone involved rerouted everything to make this day happen for Sandra and Matt. Thank you to, of course, Adam Donovan-Groves and team, Milicent and staff at The Lodge at Mt. Ida, A Pimento Catering, MS Events, Nature Composed, Six Stylez Band with Sam Hill Entertainment, Favorite Cakes, and Anne Kibler.
Have I mentioned how much I love being a wedding photographer? Yeah. I have. You know I have. And if you’ve been reading my blog you know why. People. Lots and lots of people. Weddings are about people, defined by the people who are involved and who are invited to attend. When I first got started in photography it was my dream to be a street photographer like the famous Magnum group members or an editorial photographer like the insanely talented NatGeo staff. And I’d say a good 90% of my early film days were spent with a camera around my neck, wandering this town or that city, trying desperately to catch those “decisive moments” that I knew were happening all around me. I had no idea that I’d be using all that practice to capture weddings and couples. None. In fact it wasn’t until my friend Todd Smith, whom I met first as my own wedding photographer, encouraged me to try it that it even became a possibility for me.
But here I am 13 years later, having spent countless hours surrounded by happy, smiling faces. Even in the midst of the hot, full wedding season I find it really hard to feel burdened by the work. You see, I took wedding photography on as a cause quite some time ago. That cause was to create the best, most illustrative and enduring images that I possibly could. I didn’t want to just make a pretty picture and walk away. I wanted my photographs to define the day for my couples and their families. If my best work at any wedding looked like any generic magazine cover then I’d failed. So it was and still is my mission to be better than what’s expected. And the more weddings I was invited to photograph, the more I wanted to.
So, how does this relate to Euridice and Andrew? Look through their images and tell me you don’t smile when she smiles, reflexively and then openly. When I tell you that the picture of the beautiful woman in the picture frame is of Euridice’s recently passed mother, look again at the images of her and her father throughout the day and tell me you can’t feel their expressions as if they’re your own. Look at Andrew’s face as he quite obviously loves and admires Euridice, how he holds her and tell me you don’t root for their lifelong happiness. So yeah, I love my job.
Be ready for anything. Stay flexible. Keep smiling. Those should be some of the first things you learn when you start out as a wedding photographer. You can have the best plans in the whole wide world, but when it comes down to the wedding day you still have to be prepared. Why do I mention this? Because after all the lovely planning I did with Annie and Lynn in preparation for the wedding day, we had a nasty looking storm headed our way and it looked like it meant to stick around. And, when you’ve chosen a family home in the beautiful Virginia countryside to hold your (mostly) outdoor event, a nasty looking storm is definitely not what you had in mind. So what do you do?
A rain plan is always great to have and they did have one. But something else I learned about weddings quite some time ago and it is truly the reason I love each and every one – weddings can be many things and happen on many types of days and in any number of locations, but the most important thing about them are the people. As long as we had these two amazing families and this great couple, we could have held the entire event in the root cellar and it would have been a great time. As luck would have it, we didn’t need the root cellar. The skies cleared up just after the ceremony to reveal a stunning afternoon and evening.
That is why we spend far more time than most in finding each and every interaction, expression, and heartfelt moment that we can. It’s why our blog and our website is filled with faces rather than tablecloths and shoes. Don’t get us wrong, we love the details. You’ll find some incredible ones throughout our work (see just below 🙂 ) and they are worth remembering, just like the portraits. But I’d trade all of them for that hug that Annie gives her father on the dance floor after his welcome speech, or Drew’s face when he unwraps the painted portrait he and Annie received as a wedding gift. And I’m going to assume since you’re here and still reading, that you agree 🙂
It’s true that one of the best things about being a wedding photographer is that you get to be around happy people on one of the most memorable days of their lives. You look forward to each and every weekend, no matter if it’s a venue you’ve seen a dozen times or it’s brand new to you, because the people and the personalities are always new. What’s also true is that sometimes you get that little extra from a couple, that certain something that makes a great day even better. Amanda and Adam, besides being two of the more laid-back and easy going couples I’ve had the privilege to work with, are very talented musicians. Me, being a tremendous fan of music and local musicians, was thrilled that their guest list was filled with people that I’d seen play many times. I also knew that it’d be one heck of a party.
So we were treated to Amanda and Adam playing their instruments, on stage, in their wedding clothes. There were LED hula hoops, and crazy dance floor props (unicorns and riding brooms?), and also one of our all-time favorite wedding musicians, Adrian Duke. So yeah, it was a great day.
Special thanks to Emmett Hickam of Richmond Bridal Consulting for all his wonderful support and coordination. A complete list of the great team of vendors is below.